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The Science Behind FODMAPs

What is IBS, Why it happens, and How to stop it

If you are currently suffering from the symptoms of IBS, one thing is clear: something has to change. Due to the uncomfortable symptoms one feels while suffering from IBS, such as cramps, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and abdominal pain, it is no wonder that you would want to start managing IBS. You know you want to get better, but how? The first thing to change, if you have IBS, is your diet. IBS symptoms can be directly traced back to the type of foods you are consuming. Specifically, foods with high concentrations of FODMAPs create the pain and discomfort associated with IBS. You may wonder: what are FODMAPs? Well, it is definitely not something everyone knows about, but it is important to learn and understand.

FODMAPs are carbohydrate and sugar compounds found in certain types of foods and are difficult to digest. FODMAP is an acronym for the biological names of the compounds:

  • Fermentable 
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Disaccharides 
  • Monosaccharides 
And
  • Polyols


For someone who doesn’t speak science, these names are just used to describe the type of compounds that causes IBS symptoms.

Fermentable
Fermentable means foods that can be broken down by bacteria in your large bowel. This bacteria is called microflora and is essential for breaking down food in the digestive tract. However, a build up of this bacteria can lead to digestive problems.

Oligosaccharides
“Oligo” means “few” while “saccharide” means “sugar.” You will see that the majority of IBS symptoms are due to the large amounts of sugar compounds in foods. Only low FODMAP foods will have less of these sugar compounds or “chains” so they are easier to digest.

Disaccharides
“Di” of course means two. So a di-saccharide compound would be made of a double sugar molecule. These compounds can be found in table sugar and lactose products.

Polyols
Polyols are known as sugar alcohols. And no, they are not the kind of alcohol that will get you dancing on tables. In fact, these molecules will have you doing quite the opposite, as if you have IBS they can cause severe symptoms of discomfort.

Of course, your local grocery store won’t have produce with a “low FODMAP” sticker on it; unfortunately, if you suffer from IBS it is up to you to identify good foods for IBS and which are not. However, the first step to knowing you have IBS is to figure out what your specific symptoms are and how they are caused.

When you have IBS, your digestive system is compromised, making it difficult to properly digest and move food throughout both of your intestines. There are four ways in which your digestive tract could be affected by irritable bowel syndrome.

Changes in Bacteria
The change in the amount of bacteria in your intestines plays a role in how effectively you will be able to digest food. Sometimes you cannot help how much or how little microflora is in your intestines. Unfortunately, some people are born with accumulated microflora in the intestines. However, you can influence which gut bacteria will flourish in your system by consuming probiotics and by making dietary choices that limit the food supply for the bad bacteria.

Nervous System
Stress can trigger poor functioning of your digestive system. If you are subject to high quantities of stress, your brain can send neural signals halting or stunting the proper functioning of your intestines.

Overworking Muscles in the Stomach
When you digest food, your stomach works very hard to break down your food. Depending on how much effort is needed to break down the food compounds, your stomach muscles contract to churn, break down, and move food through the digestive tract.

Inflammation
Inflammation in the intestines occurs when your immune system over-supplies new cells. This doesn’t sound bad, right? Wrong! When the immune system increases the number of cells in the intestines this can actually causes inflammation, which leads to abdominal pain.

Stress, hormonal changes, and diet all contribute to IBS and the severity of its symptoms. Though these are all factors, some people can develop IBS naturally due to age. The number one way to control your IBS symptoms is through charting and monitoring the types of foods you are eating. Online stores such as Casa de Sante are a great resource to not only buy low FODMAP foods, but learn new and exciting tips to live a healthier life. By using Casa de Sante’s tips and tricks to low FODMAP living, you can move closer to managing IBS and identifying foods to help with IBS. Visit Casa de Sante online today!

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